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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

NHS forecasts surplus
The NHS is forecasting a small surplus of £18m for the year, according to financial performance figures released by the Department of Health. Forecast gross deficits for the year totalled £883m compared with £1,227m in 2006-06 while 120 NHS organisations forecast deficits compared with 174 that returned deficits in 2005-06. Health minister, Lord Warner, described the figures as encouraging. ìThey show that the NHS is on track to achieve our aim of a net financial balance by the end of the year,î he said. ìGood progress has been made to bring the NHS into balance, and this has been done whilst continuing to maintain good patient care.î

Cut down on drug errors, says HC
More than 40,000 medication errors occurred in NHS hospitals in England and Wales in the 12 months ended July 2006, according to a Healthcare Commission (HC) study. In the report, the HC indicated that about 80 per cent of medication errors, such as giving the wrong amount or type of drug, caused no harm. However, 2,000 cases led to moderate or severe harm and 36 cases resulted in death. HC chief executive Anna Walker said while many trusts were getting the basics right, there was still ìsome way to go when it comes to involving patients in decisions about medicineî. The healthcare watchdog called for hospitals to increase efforts to improve the prescribing and dispensing of medicines.

30th September 2008

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